All Blacks coach Steve Hansen says the cancellation of their final World Cup pool match due to typhoon Hagibis was the right decision.
World Rugby has confirmed its decision to cancel Saturday’s two World Cup fixtures involving England and New Zealand, with typhoon Hagibis set to hit Japan. The match between Ireland and Samoa on the same day will go ahead as planned.
This means New Zealand will finish with 16 points and are assured of first place in Pool B, while Italy have missed out on the opportunity to secure their place in the quarter-finals as they will finish third with 12 points, just three behind South Africa.
England will top Pool C, with France finishing second in the same pool. Both teams had already secured their places in the World Cup playoffs.
After learning of the latest developments, Hansen said be believes the right call was made because the safety of everyone involved is paramount.
‘Everyone knew this was a possibility and we all knew what the process would be if it did occur,’ Hansen commented.
‘When you get a typhoon to the level we’re getting, then safety is the paramount thing, so it’s a no-brainer.’
He added that the All Blacks’ reaction to the cancellation would be crucial.
‘The most important thing that happens now is how we adapt and adjust to it. The players have to get their heads around the fact we’re not playing and the coaching group have to get our heads around fact we’re not playing and adjust our preparation accordingly.’
All Blacks captain Kieran Read said that while the cancellation was understandable, it was also sad, especially for Italy, who will now miss the opportunity to challenge for a potential quarter-final berth.
‘Naturally we wanted to play. It’s sad because it’s a World Cup game that not only us, but the Italians will miss out on. But more so for the fans. You’ve got to understand the safety reasons why it’s been called off, we’ll adapt and we know we’re in next week.’
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